We got a kitten for our youngest daughter. To start with, Cersei stayed inside while she got used to her new home. But it wasn’t long before it was time for her to venture outside – so we started to look at the options for a cat flap.My search for a cat flap gave me some thoughts on issues to consider when you’re looking for a cat flap or doggie door: cost and choice, complexity and damage and security.
Cost and choice
Most of my research was online and the best site I’ve come across in terms of range of options and price to suit both dogs and cats is Petsystems. Their prices seem to range from about R159 to over R2,000 for the more sophisticated doors. That said, you still need to install the door, which, looking at some of the installation instructions, seemed overly complicated and beyond my DIY ability. The biggest problem was the tools I’d need to buy and the accurate hole I would need to cut. So I figured I’d need a handyman to come over at a cost of about R200 to R300 per hour. Then the last bit of research was the cost of closing the hole if we ever needed to vacate our property. Most dog or cat door sellers offer a solution with a “blank” that can be fitted over the hole. The cost of the blank is about R100 and I could do this myself. Best-case scenario is around R459 all in; worst case just under R3,000, plus the inconvenience of having to set up and attend the pet access installation.
Complexity and damage
Notwithstanding that a cat door was beyond my DIY ability, we’d need to teach Cersei to use it. And I wasn’t sure how easy this would be as I’ve had some cat herding experience and have got the scars to prove it!
Then I’d need to choose the right size and I wasn’t sure how big she would grow. Then there was the additional issue of keeping it clean, especially if there were to be some electrical components.
And which door would I fit it to anyway? The glass patio door, the kitchen door (which was also glass), maybe the wooden side door into the garage? But then she’d have to run the gauntlet of the dogs. And anyway, we didn’t really want her in the kitchen climbing on the counters and eating our lunch!
Our final thoughts were about security, and this had two parts to it. The first consideration was letting workmen into our home. A study by Professor Rudolph Zinn among incarcerated criminals found that 75% of break-ins are based on inside information, usually gleaned from domestic employees or workmen. So we weren’t keen on that. See this article about house burglary in South Africa.
The other issue was access to keys with a door installation. A break in can happen without much (or any for that matter) noise using a doggy door to get your house keys.
The alternative to a cat flap or doggy door
My relationship with Lock Latch started when our eldest daughter Katie heard inventor Anthony Bairos talking on the radio about his new invention called Lock Latch. Kate suggested we consider Lock Latch instead of a cat flap. I checked out the website, phoned Ant and ordered my latch. When it arrived it took less than 15 minutes to install and Cersei used it straight away.
I installed a Lock Latch as it ticked all the boxes after some pretty extensive research. So if you’ll excuse my partisan opinion, here’s why I think Lock Latch is a better alternative to a cat flap or doggy door:
- It’s less expensive.
- It’s easy to install and you can do it yourself.
- It has a lifetime guarantee.
- It’s adjustable to fit most pet sizes.
- Fits any door or window whatever it’s made of and whichever way it opens.
- The installation causes little damage.
- It’s a layer of security that also allows you to keep windows and doors open but locked, to let the fresh air in.
- Dogs and cats are used to using an open window or door so little or no training or luck is required.